Video View 8-7
Sunday, April 26, 2009

"THE WRESTLER": A top movie-comeback story of recent times has been Mickey Rourke, who had a terrific ride on the film-award circuit as the title character of director and co-writer Darren Aronofsky's drama. Mirroring many of the actor's own experiences, Rourke's roughed-up alter ego wants a new lease on his personal and professional lives. His path to redemption involves his estranged daughter (Evan Rachel Wood) anad a stripper (Marisa Tomei). Bruce Springsteen wrote and performed the title song. DVD extras: "making-of" documentary; "Wrestler Round Table"; music video. **** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

"FROST/NIXON": Skillfully directed by Ron Howard, Peter Morgan's adaptation of his own play recharged stage veteran Frank Langella's screen career through his masterful portrayal of former President Richard Nixon. As the ex-chief executive prepares to be interviewed by David Frost (Michael Sheen, also excellent) about the Watergate scandal, both sides jockey to be in the best light during the telecasts. Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt and Toby Jones offer top-notch support. DVD extras: audio commentary by Howard; "making-of" documentary; deleted scenes; footage from the real interview; "The Nixon Library" featurette. **** (R: P) (Also on Blu-ray)

"NOTORIOUS": The Notorious B.I.G., the rap-music star who met an early and violent end, is recalled in director George Tillman Jr.'s ("Soul Food") biographical drama. Jamal Woolard plays the musician. Additional stars include Angela Bassett as B.I.G.'s mother Voletta Wallace, Derek Luke as Sean "Puffy" Combs, and Anthony Mackie as rap rival Tupac Shakur. DVD extras: seven "making-of" documentaries; audio commentary by Tillman, Wallace, screenwriters Reggie Rock Bythewood and Cheo Hodari Coker, editor Dirk Westervelt and manager-producers Wayne Barrow and Mark Pitts; deleted scenes; extended concert footage; digital copy of the movie. *** (R and unrated versions: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

"CAPRICA": The prequel to the updated "Battlestar Galactica" isn't slated to debut on Sci Fi Channel until 2010, but in an unusual move, this much-earlier DVD release of the pilot episode gives those who just can't wait that long a sneak peek. The original rise of the villainous Cylons is among the plot points in the saga, casting Esai Morales as the attorney who will be the father of the eventual Commander Adama, and Eric Stoltz as a technology whiz whose work in robotics is fueled by the daughters he and the elder Adama both lost. DVD extras: audio commentary by director Jeffrey Reiner, executive producer and writer Ronald D. Moore and executive producer David Eick; deleted scenes, video blogs. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

"INTO THE BLUE 2: THE REEF": Jessica Alba and Paul Walker are missing this time, but well-toned bodies remain in evidence thanks to Chris Carmack ("The O.C.") and Laura Vandervoort - who spent a season as Supergirl on "Smallville" - in this made-for-video sequel to the watery adventure. The new couple also stumbles upon treasure beneath the surface, and as with their forerunners, they encounter others with less-pure intentions. Co-stars include Marsha Thomason ("Las Vegas"), David Anders ("Heroes") and Audrina Patridge of "The Hills" fame. DVD extras: two "making-of" documentaries; music video. ** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

"RHODA: SEASON ONE": Commemorating the 35th anniversary of the sitcom's debut, the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" spinoff takes Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper, who won an Emmy for this first year of the show) back home to New York, where she falls for professional wrecker Joe Girard (David Groh). It doesn't take long for the couple to wed, and Rhoda's sister (Julie Kavner, later legendary as the voice of the animated Marge Simpson) and parents (Nancy Walker, Harold Gould) often have something to say about the marriage. DVD extra: retrospective documentary. *** (Not rated: AS)

COMING SOON: "BRIDE WARS" (April 28): Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway play friends-turned-enemies when only one can have the hotel they both want for the same wedding day. (PG: AS, P)

"NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH" (April 28): Inspired by a real-life incident, writer-director Rod Lurie's drama casts Kate Beckinsale as a reporter who faces jail time after blowing the cover of a CIA agent. (R: AS, P, V)

"THE UNINVITED" (April 28): After being institutionalized, a young woman (Emily Browning) returns home and suspects her father's new love (Elizabeth Banks) of being up to no good. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

"THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON" (May 5): Several technical Oscars went to director David Fincher's fantasy-drama about a man (Brad Pitt) who ages in reverse. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

"LAST CHANCE HARVEY" (May 5): Dustin Hoffman plays a bride's father who makes an unlikely love connection with a British government worker (Emma Thompson) while in London for the nuptials. (PG-13: P)

"UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS" (May 12): Rhona Mitra takes over from Kate Beckinsale in this chapter of the saga of werewolves vs. vampires. (R: AS, GV)

FAMILY-VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.



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